Now on PBS

Screaming Symphony progressive metal with Peter & Gary, Thu 10:00pm - Fri 12:00am
Through The Collapse extreme metal with Mitch, Fri 12:00am - 2:00am
Eclectic Ladyland women on tracks with Sigrid, Fri 2:00am - 6:00am
The Breakfast Spread your musical alternative with Milo & guests, Fri 6:00am - 9:00am

A History of PBS


OCT 1976: Melbourne needs a different kind of radio station! 50 people turn up to the first meeting.
JOHN ROBERTS introduces FELIX HOFFMAN on Dec 21, 1979


JULY 1977: First test transmission - continuous 78 hours in mono with meagre power of 10 watts.
Listen to how it began. JOHN MAIZELS reflects (rec.1979).

SEPT 1977: Support for PBS mustered with a presence at the Melbourne HiFi show (also in 1978 & 1979).

DEC 1977: Final test transmission in stereo, 10-40 watts.


1978: Public (now known as 'Community') FM licences are to be issued by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal. PBS nearly misses out. show/hide more

In April 1978, the Minister for Post and telecommunications Tony Staley, announced that Public FM licences would be issued, three in Melbourne, and that submissions for these licences should be presented to the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal. This was the first concrete opportunity for the aspirant PBS to consolidate its position, and fulfill its obligation to the subscribers. At the time, two Public Broadcasting stations were already operating in Melbourne, but PBS would not be allowed to begin regular broadcasts without a licence being granted.

In spite of the limited time available, an impressive submission was prepared and presented to the Tribunal. However in the rush to finalise the submission, including an eleventh hour personal delivery of the document to Sydney offices of the ABT, an oversight almost led to the rejection of nearly two years effort. For whilst great attention was given to the relevant sections of the submission, the pro forma was omitted.

After first being informed that it had been rejected, and following several harrowing days of negotiation and speculation, PBS supporters were relieved when the submission was accepted, and that PBS representatives were to appear before the forthcoming Tribunal hearings to determine who should be granted the licences.

After several days of scrutinising submissions and cross-examining applicants, the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal concluded the hearings with PBS being offered an S-type (special purpose) licence. The Progressive Broadcasting Service Cooperative Ltd has held the licence to this day. The other two Public FM licences granted at the time went to 3MBS and 3RRR.


PBS searches for, and investigates over 40 possible transmitter sites.
PAUL CUTHBERT outlines the difficulties (rec. 1979)

4:30PM 21 DEC 1979: Prince of Wales Hotel studio.

Transmitting from the Royal Womens Hospital on 107.7 MHz show/hide more

Until the transmitter was relocated to Mt. Dandenong in 1987, broadcast hours were limited to exclude business hours on weekdays, with Melbourne University claiming "interference".


9 FEB 1980: GALA OPENING NIGHT, Prince of Wales Hotel St. Kilda.
ROBERT HUGGINS persuades PETER RUSSELL-CLARKE to officially open the station.

30 AUG 1980: BIG FM BROADCAST OF 1980, Dallas Brooke's Hall. The first live-to-air PBS outside broadcast. show/hide more

A costly and highly ambitious mix of big band sounds, comedy and live music; Kerry Biddell, Mondo Rock, Rod Quantock, Loose Change, Fred Dagg and more.


FEB 1982: PBS appoints its first Station Manager, Ian Stanistreet.


AUG 1984: PBS, MBS & ZZZ form a joint company, Public FM Transmissions Pty. Ltd. with the aim of securing transmission facilities on Mt. Dandenong.


1985: PBS moves up the road from the Prince of Wales Hotel to the Park Lake Building at 171 Fitzroy Street, St.Kilda.
IAN STANISTREET (Station Manager 1982-88) interviewed in 1989.


SEPT 1987: Transmission begins from Mt. Dandenong on the new frequency of 106.7 MHz in addition to 107.7.

16 NOV 1987: PBS officially begins 24/7 transmission on the current frequency of 106.7 MHz.
BILL RUNTING interviewed in 1989.


JAN 1988: Mazz Knott is appointed as Station Manager.

8 MAR 1988: For the first time, PBS celebrates International Womens Day with a day of special programming.

MAR 1988: Waves magazine is discontinued.

APR 1988: Inaugural LIVE MUSIC WEEK - 50 acts play live for Melbourne listeners.
CAMERON PAINE interviewed in 1989, with a collage of contributing artists. show/hide more

PBS is commended for this initiative by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal in March 1989 when the broadcast licence is renewed for a further three years. Artists featured (in order); The Reptiles, Seven, Christopher Coe, Joe Geia, Sea Stories, Venom P. Stinger, Kia Kaha, Luna-C, Thing, An Ordinary Field, Untitled Red, Rocket 88's, Swinging Sidewalks.

21 OCT 1988 - Australia's very first Community TV / Radio LIVE SIMULCAST.
CAMERON PAINE coordinated the simulcast. show/hide more

The event features Crown of Thorns, T.I.S.M. & Ton Up Pirates performing live at the Old Greek Theatre in Richmond. The vision is narrowcast to the inner west of Melbourne on UHF Ch47 during the week-long second test transmission by TVU.


FEB 1989: A contentious new revamped 24 hour programme schedule is introduced by the Program Committee, trialing the first multi-genre programmes.

JUL 1989: PBS resumes magazine publication with Static, published in three editions leading up to the 10th Anniversary; Issue Minus 3 (July 1989), Minus 2 (Oct 1989) and Minus 1 (Dec 1989).

DEC 1989: PBS celebrates 10 years on air with a one hour radio documentary produced for the occasion by Garry Havrillay. The 10th Anniversary edition of Static includes a revealing article on the first 10 years of live music at PBS by Cameron Paine.


8 MAR 1990: Another celebration of International Womens Day with special programming.


1999: During Peter Chellew's time as Station Manager, PBS wins a National Community Media Award for the 1998 Wangaratta Jazz & Blues Festival program which was relayed via satellite to community stations around Australia. show/hide more

By now, PBS had firmly established its credentials for bringing live music from festivals, community and concert events to its listeners; St. Kilda Festival, Queenscliff Music Festival, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Brunswick Street Fringe, Melbourne Show Country Music Muster, Cup Day Chaos, Anzac Day Anarchy and many more.

21 DEC 1999: PBS celebrates 20 years on air with a special 2 hour program hosted by Len Davis - a free-flowing reunion of several volunteers who contributed during the early years.
Listen to excerpts of this program. show/hide more

Live guests include; Paul Cuthbert, John Maizels, Ken Fargher, Brian Wise, Robert Huggins, David Stubbs, Phil MacDougall, Ian Stanistreet, Bill Runting & Garry Havrillay


27 NOV 2001: The first transmission from 47 Easey Street, Collingwood, after Station Manager Roger Jones oversees the daunting and largely volunteer effort to build new studio facilities.


OCT 2002: After a hiatus of nearly three years, PBS publishes a new magazine Over Easey. After only one edition this is renamed Easey in 2003, and is still the official magazine mailed twice-yearly to PBS Members.


For the 25th Anniversary, Anne-Marie Middlemast contributes a significant article to Easey magazine, "25 Years and Still Kicking Out the Jams!"


JAN 2007: Adrian Basso ex MBS is appointed Station Manager.


MID 2008: PBS earns tax-deductible (DGR) status, representing considerable maturity for the station.


28 MAR 2009: To mark its 30th year, PBS organises a reunion of announcers, volunteers, staff, Board members and supporters at Fitzroy Town Hall, and launches a new brand and logo.

MAY 2009: Following the reunion, Steph Francis contributes a major article to Easey magazine, "30 years of PBS".

JULY 2009: PBS doubles its broadcast power with a new FM transmitter purchased with funds donated by PBS listeners.

AUG 2009: Commercial and National broadcasters begin digital radio broadcasts, but Community stations like PBS are unable to participate until funds are made available to the Australian Community Radio sector by the Federal Government.


DEC 2010: PBS and other Melbourne community stations begin digital radio transmissions with test simulcasts of their analogue services.


14 APR 2011: PBS and eight other Melbourne community radio stations launch their digital radio services with a joint simulcast from Federation Square.


MAY 2015: A third broadcast studio is commissioned at Easey Street with generous support from our local community.


30 AUG 2016: PBS commences its Access Training Program aiming to increase participation from women & gender diverse people in music broadcasting.

1 NOV 2016: PBS diverges FM and DAB+ broadcasts with the first edition of Cross Pollinate hosted by participants in the Access Training Program.

All corrections, contributions and suggestions to improve the value and accuracy of this record welcome.
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